Sir Ian McKellen delights inspirational LGBT teens at Stonewall Youth Awards
The Stonewall Youth Awards recognised the amazing work done by LGBT teen campaigners across the country.
LGBT equality charity Stonewall welcomed special guest Sir Ian McKellen to its Youth Awards last week (May 20).
Great British Bake Off winner John Whaite hosted the annual event, which was supported by Lloyds Banking Group.
The Stonewall Youth Awards culminated the 2015/2016 Stonewall Youth Volunteering Programme, which helps thousands of young people develop and run campaigns to tackle homophobia, biphobia and transphobia (HBT) within their local communities.
The programme follows a 2014 report by Stonewall, which suggests that nine in every ten secondary school teachers say their students are bullied harassed or called names for being – or for being perceived to be – LGBT.
Whaite presented special awards to two of the campaigners – AJ Selfridge and Mitch Price, 17 – who showed exceptional dedication to promoting LGBT equality in their local communities.
AJ’s campaigning efforts included developing an LGBT network group across several schools in the South Buckinghamshire area.
Mitch, meanwhile, taught teachers in his old school about how to tackle and prevent HBT bullying and information on trans issues – which was delivered to over 1500 students in total.
Recognition was also given to Burnham Grammar School and York High School for their work during LGBTI Pride fortnight, and for producing a video promoting the acceptance of LGBT students.
The teens were also treated to a surprise appearance for Sir Ian McKellen, who emphasised the role that young people have in the fight for LGBT equality.
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“Nothing though is more important than to continue to enable young people to have a voice, their own voice: to empower themselves and their kind, however they define themselves,” he said.
Stonewall Youth Programmes Manager Wayne Dhesi echoed Sir Ian, claiming “it’s crucial that young people feel empowered to fight for equality in their local area.”
Karin Cook, Group Director, Operations and Group Executive Sponsor for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity at Lloyds Banking Group highlighted the responsibility businesses have to support charities such as Stonewall.
“At Lloyds Banking Group we are extremely proud of our partnership with Stonewall and supporting the Youth Volunteering Programme is very important to us as a responsible business as it works so closely with communities across the UK”.
For more information about the Stonewall School Champions programme or the Youth Volunteering programme, visit stonewall.org.uk